“The greatest challenge facing Bible believing American Christians is not persecution from the world but seduction by the world.” ~ C. J. Mahaney
This morning I listened to a sermon by Pastor David Platt. I have read David Platt’s books, Radical and Follow Me. I also saw him speak at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week last year. He has a preaching style that is captivating and straight forward. The message this morning I found on You Tube was titled, “The Danger of Worldly Desires.” He opened his message with the quote above. I thought about that quote. I pondered the depth of truth in it. I weighed the statistics shared in his message. Statistics that most Christians have probably heard, but most have probably brushed off with an attitude of non-application. “I don’t love the world! I go to church every Sunday. I teach Sunday School. I give money when the offering plate comes around. I sing with the worship songs. ” I’m sure others could add to this list of actions they believe make them stand out from the world. Yet, do these same people really GET what it means to not love the world? I thought I did. Then, I experienced a paradigm shift about the middle of the message. “How many people sitting in this congregation have ever given serious thought to moving their family to the middle east in order to spread the gospel?” That was the question David Platt posed to his congregation of thousands. Now, I admit to being a bit taken aback by that question. Why would I consider that? What if God called me to do that?
I began thinking about the dreams I have. Some of these dreams I have held in my heart for many years; some were born more recently. Whenever I think of my dreams I think of the song from the old time Christmas special, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”:
“There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true, believe in your dreams come what may.”
Hmmm. Do the dreams that I think about–the plans I envision for myself, my kids– do they line up with what God’s Word says I should be striving for?
When I really be honest with the answer to that question, I would have to admit to answering it with a no. My dreams involve hoping for things in this world. I have dreams that I am realizing will most likely never come true for me. I can kind of handle that. I am not as young as I was when these dreams were born in my heart. The dreams I have for my kids, though, I am reluctant to let go. I go to God often and ask Him to grant fruition to these dreams in the lives of my kids. What parent doesn’t have dreams for their child? That isn’t wrong, right? No, I actually don’t think having dreams for my kids is wrong.
What is wrong, though, is holding onto those dreams so tightly that I am dissatisfied with any direction they go that may lead away from the fulfillment of the dreams I have for them. What makes that wrong is I am not leaving room for the fact that perhaps God’s plans for them do not match my dreams for them.
Wait. Seriously? Can’t God see that I am their mom and I, of all people, know what is best for them? I spent years with these kids, pouring myself into them. I am the expert in matters of their future.
Except really, I’m not. I know what I would like to see happen in their lives. Of course I want them to grow closer to God every day. Of course I want them to be good citizens, working a job, providing for their families–I want them to have families to provide for. I want…
You get the idea. There’s a lot of I’s in those sentences.
The reality is, though, that I have no control in any of these things. God is in complete control and maybe my dreams for them are more worldly than I want to admit.
I haven’t learned to hold these things loosely yet. I’m not sure I will ever really learn that lesson–no more than I will ever really want to accept the loss of many of my own dreams.
I guess that’s why Paul said, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” God isn’t done with me–obviously. I am more worldly than I care to admit. I have so much to learn still.
I am so thankful that God is patient with this slow learner.